Logan Kaufman: For someone with a rather
healthy body of work and following, there really
aren't tons of things written about you, in regards
to interviews and such. At the same time, you're
on MySpace and run your own website. Are you a
recluse in denial, or a social butterfly who everyone
keeps forgetting to ask for interviews?
Richard Sala: I'm schizo, I guess. Or
maybe it's my Gemini nature. I've always had just
a few really good friends, but I'm kind of uncomfortable
with social interaction in general. I love hanging
out with friends and making them laugh and having
conversations -- but if I'm put in front of a
large group of people I'm a mess. During my young
adulthood, of course, I did things like teach
(while I was a graduate student) and I had a job
that required lots of social interaction where
I was very responsible and well-liked (I think).
But I was a shy kid, and after becoming a full-time
freelancer, working out of my home, I think I
somehow began to "unlearn" a lot of my social
skills. Being a cartoonist requires spending a
lot of time alone in your head. I've always been
extremely neurotic and after my divorce (we were
together for twenty years and are still good friends)
I just sort of lost interest in trying to be more
social. I love my work -- and that's where I generally
find my pleasure and satisfaction. At one point
I began losing my voice and had to see a doctor
whose diagnosis was that I had forgotten how to
speak! It was some bizarre psychosomatic stress-related
However, I have found the internet to be a wonderful
antidote to my messed-up social skills (like a
lot of fellow shut-ins, I dare say). The MySpace
thing is fairly new and so far I'm enjoying
it -- I don't take it too seriously -- it's mainly
silly fun. But I've met some cool new people,
reunited with old friends and even sold work and
so on, because of it. As far as my richardsala.com
website -- a friend of mine, the genius John Kuramoto,
built that for me. It doesn't require much "hands-on"
activity from me. It actually badly needs updating
So -- in answer to your question. I AM somewhat
of a recluse, but I'm not in denial about it.
And nobody would ever mistake me for a social
butterfly, I'm sorry to say.
Logan: What information is out there states
you grew up in an abusive household...
Richard Sala: Wow -- you're the second
person to ask me that in the last month -- that
is, about my "abusive" household. This must be
an internet thing -- maybe? Anyway, as I recall,
the only place I discussed my childhood was in
an interview I did with The Comics Journal
years ago and maybe that is where this comes from.
I don't think I did (or would) use the word "abusive"
pertaining to MYSELF (although my sister and mother
might). I mean, I wouldn't want to trivialize
the meaning of the word. But my father was not
a happy man. He was angry and irrational and would
often terrorize me and my brother and sister with
violence or threats of violence. This was the
mid-sixties, and he was an "old school" first
generation Sicilian with what they used to call
"a temper", so disciplining kids by hitting them
was not as foreign a concept as it is now, perhaps.
I got hit with all kinds of things -- belts, hairbrushes,
pieces of wood, books...but even in my high school
a few years later kids would get spanked with
a paddle in front of the class if they offended
the teacher in some way....It was a different
Anyway, I guess you CAN say that my relationship
with my father did mess me up a bit, because,
although there was cruelty and irrational behavior,
nevertheless, my father is where I get almost
all of my creative side from. He knew how to draw,
which always amazed me as a kid, and he had a
love and knowledge of old movies and monsters
and weird popular culture stuff that has come
to define who I am, too. It's very complicated
-- or rather it's one for the shrinks, I guess.
Logan: Was your father in an artistic
field, or was drawing a hobby for him?
Richard Sala: It was a hobby, but when
you're a kid even average drawing can seem like
magic. I remember watching cartoons with him and
he was able to draw the characters that were on
TV as they appeared on the screen. That impressed
me, I remember. I also remember my cousins watching
in awe as he drew pictures of pirates or cowboys
during one summer vacation. I think maybe that's
when I realized that it was considered "cool".
But he wasn't schooled in art, unless it was maybe
some classes due to the GI Bill after WWII. He
only had an 8th grade education and had done all
this macho stuff like being in a post-war motorcycle
gang, ala The Wild One, and being a lumberjack
in the Pacific Northwest. I saw photos of all
these adventures or I may not have believed them
His drawing must have inspired me to do it myself,
but I honestly don't remember a single word of
encouragement or advice from him regarding art.
Instead, my first real memory of being an artist
was when my kindergarten teacher raved about a
drawing I had done and showed it to another teacher
in front of me and they both cooed over it. I
think I have that moment to blame on becoming
Logan: When did you get into the horror
and pop culture yourself? Was that an experience
you shared with your dad, or just because your
were around it, something you explored on your
Richard Sala: I have no idea why I responded
to monsters and scary stuff, rather than, say,
cowboys or baseball cards, enough to make it a
life-long interest. I have my pet pop-psych theories
(e.g. exposing myself to scary stuff helped me
conquer my fears of real life, etc...) but I honestly
don't know for sure. My brother and I started
buying monster magazines when we were little,
but he didn't become hooked like I did. My father
would mention that he had seen King Kong
and the original Phantom of the Opera with
Lon Chaney when he was a kid, and I remember he
liked them, but he liked old movies in general.
It all seemed to be something specific to me.
For example, I must have read lots of comics as
a little kid -- funny animals or whatever -- but
the first comic that made an impression on me
-- that made me sit up and take notice -- was
a Jack Kirby, pre-hero, Tales of Suspense
comic. My brother and I bought all those pre-hero
Marvel/Atlas monster comics and so we were there
for the debut of The Fantastic Four and
Spiderman and The Hulk. I bought
those, too, because I loved Kirby (though I wasn't
really aware who he was -- I just recognized the
style), but I always missed those Atlas monster
Similarly, I started clipping out Dick Tracy
comics and putting them in a scrapbook when I
was in the fifth grade. Again, I'm sure I was
responding to the grotesque characters, the wild
violence, and the borderline horror element that
was in those strips.
As I grew older, I certainly tried more than
once to "outgrow" monsters and comics and pop
culture. I got an education. I spent more time
concerned with music and girls, etc. I had a career
as an illustrator. But I was continually discovering
smart, "adult" ways of looking at the stuff (reading
scholarly articles that took comics and horror
seriously, for example, or seeing poetic, adult
horror movies like Eyes Without a Face,
etc, etc.) and I'd realize that maybe these weren't
simply childish thrills I needed to outgrow. I
became fascinated with meaning and subtext. But
I also couldn't deny the visceral thrills either.
I guess I finally reached a point where I felt
such a deep kinship with the creators of the stuff
I loved that I knew I had to join them.
Logan: I've always thought of horror and
fantasy as a safe outlet for a certain amount
of bloodlust. Watching a war movie makes me sick
to my stomach, but I could watch zombies all day.
It's safe. It's never going to happen to me.
Richard Sala: Certainly from a very young
age I was able to grasp that movies weren't real.
From the very beginning, I understood that movies
were entertainment -- that they were created by
writers and cinematographers and make-up artists
and actors and so on. I assume I'm not the only
one! And as I got a little older I could see that,
in addition to entertainment, horror movies could
serve as an outlet for our real life fears. It's
such a cliche -- but it's like riding a rollercoaster
-- when the ride is over, you feel braver and
more alive for having "survived". Then -- beyond
even that -- one can look at horror movies as
modern-day folk tales, in that they are rich in
the potential for analysis, as "dreams" almost,
which can be interpreted and scrutinized as not
only showing us our individual fears, but whatever
our cultural or societal fears may be at that
I understand what you mean about war movies,
but I've never had a problem with any fictional
genre. I feel that (for me) violent movies of
any kind can offer a genuine catharsis. That's
why the trend of PG-13-rated horror movies is
so frustrating for audiences. On the other hand,
the new trend of "torture" movies (SAW,
Hostel, etc), although capturing a specific
mood of our time, I suppose, aren't satisfying
to me in particular. I think the reason is that
I can sense they were made to be over-the-top,
but it doesn't feel that the filmakers have a
real, obsessive need to explore this stuff (most
great horror directors find something inside themselves
to use). Instead it just feels like it's being
done to make money and exploit horror fans. I
may be wrong, but that's how it's looking to me
I'm also not a big fan of the "true crime" segment
of horror. It's become more and more common for
people who are horror fans to also be "fans" of
real-life killers like Manson, etc. I have no
problem with fictionalized versions of real life
crimes, but my feeling that, for the most part,
is, if you are into that sort of thing, your interest
is in "true crime", not the "horror" genre. I
could never confuse Charles Manson or Ted Bundy
with Frankenstein and Freddy Krueger, but it seems
like that line has blurred for some people. Naturally
I find true-crime fascinating, but I couldn't
ever really call it entertainment or even a safe
outlet for anyone's fears. It's usually the opposite,
for me anyway!
Logan: When you started to draw, were
they immediately based on these fantastical type
Richard Sala: I drew all kinds of things
as a kid, but, yes I probably leaned toward the
more fantastical. I drew comics and pictures of
monsters and so on. Then I got older and took
art classes and that certainly broadened my perspective.
The funny thing is I spent years unlearning all
the cartoony elements in my work that had formed
when I was a kid. And that was fine for awhile.
I decided I wanted to be a great classical illustrator
like N.C. Wyeth (even though I was in the Fine
Arts program, not Illustration or Design). I struggled
with that for a year or so -- it just didn't come
naturally to me, I can see that now -- it wasn't
in my nature, it didn't suit my temperment or
personality. The great thing about art school
is it helps you work through those things. Finally
I had classes with two teachers who encouraged
us to find who we were -- just by drawing and
drawing constantly to see what would come up.
I found myself drawing all these Expressionistic,
Caligari-esque corridors and doorways, bizarre
scenarios featuring operating rooms and hunched
shadowy figures. Now that DID come easily to me.
That was my true nature -- all that stuff I'd
absorbed so hungrily as a kid. It started all
coming back and I guess it never completely went
Logan: How long did it take you to nail
down your personal style in school? You actually
have a master's degree in art -- it seems somewhat
uncommon for a comic book artist to have received
that much formal training.
Richard Sala: Whatever my style is, it
began to be apparent in those classes I mentioned
above, where students were encouraged to draw
whatever came to their minds at the moment, sort
of like automatic writing. It's kind of a surrealist
approach for unlocking the unconscious, I guess.
I show the work I did then, back in the late seventies,
to people now and they say they can tell it's
me, although I've certainly changed since then.
It was the punk era and my friends and I hated
above all things artists who could draw in lots
of different styles. I hated that facility, because
it's just empty craft. I felt that a "style" was
simply who you were -- you shouldn't be able to
(or want to) completely change your "style". It's
not honest. You should be able to look at an artist's
work and immediately know who it is -- it should
be unique, like a fingerprint. We had a campus
design group -- me and two other artists -- and
our motto was "We can't help it, we HAVE to draw
this way." And that sort of summed up my attitude
One change occured for me during my second RAW
story, the one that was written by Tom DeHaven
called "Proxy". I think Art Spiegelman helped
guide me away from my freewheeling expressionism
by pointing out that the formal aspects of comics
exist for a reason -- to better communicate with
the audience, to get your ideas across in a clearer
manner. I think I came in with my master's degree
feeling somewhat superior to comics (after all,
that had been hammered in my head for six years)
and feeling like I could push the boundries and
do whatever I wanted. But this story was by another
author and I wanted to honor that as best I could.
When I look at that story now, I can see myself
struggling with the formal aspects of comics.
Mainly my attempt to do more-or-less straight
lettering -- that looks terrible. Over the years,
I've tried to keep the parts of me that are unique,
but still follow the "rules" enough so that I
can make good comics. I've let my style grow naturally
to better suit the medium of comics. One thing
I learned is that I relate much more to the story-telling
in old comic strips rather than comic books. I
really feel at home with that brand of straight-forward
storytelling. I could never relate to those flashy
mainstream comics pages that came out of the seventies
from people like Neal Adams with the jagged "broken
glass" layouts and heroes with clenched teeth
and pained expressions bursting out of the borders.
Give me a simple honest Dick Tracy-style
grid of square panels anyday!
Logan: There is a photo of a you on your
MySpace page with some large paintings hanging
behind you. Was that more typical of what you
were doing in college, or did you also do a lot
of work in pen and ink at the time?
Richard Sala: That photo of me was taken in
a corner of my big beautiful studio at Mills College.
Yes, those painting were typical of the kind of
work I was doing my first year there in 1980.
The work I showed that got me accepted was all
on paper -- watercolor, pen & ink drawings, etchings
-- nothing bigger than 22"x30". But I was a painting
major and was strongly encouraged to work in oils
and work big, so I did. My painting eventually
got better than the ones you see in that photo!
Those are just canvas stapled to the studio wall.
I'd always work on three or more paintings at
once since oil takes so long to dry.
What's interesting is that those paintings look
like enlarged comic book panels - so I was still
thinking in "small" terms, even if I was working
larger. And in fact some of those compositions
eventually showed up in my first self-published
book -- so they came full-circle! The other indication
that I couldn't entirely abandon my love of pop
culture was when the Art Department secretary,
Marilyn -- a nice older lady who didn't really
know anything about art, but was a sweet mother-figure
for all the artists and teachers -- she came to
one of the graduate shows and looked at my paintings
and said, "Oh - I get it - Dick Tracy." I was
surprised at that time that my influences were
The downside of that was when I had a critique
with the Photography professor who told me my
work looked too much like "underground comix",
which at that time was painfully over, I mean
OVER -- especially in the Bay Area where it had
been such a big thing for so long. Underground
comix at that point reminded people of hippies
and NOBODY wanted to be reminded of hippies in
1980! This professor said to me -- which I actually
consider very good advice -- "Live in your own
time", meaning, basically, don't do work that
strives to be of part of an era you are not living
in. Be aware of where the culture is now.
Logan: I know you enjoyed comics as a
kid, but what actually got you into doing themself
yourself after college? Like you said, there isn't
a lot of love for the medium in most art schools.
Richard Sala: I was fortunate that there
were some really good comic book stores in the
Bay Area. Actually, a person who used to work
at one of them was Rory Root who later went on
to establish one of the greatest comic book stores
ever, Comic Relief. Anyway, back then I would
take the bus down to Telegraph Avenue by UC Berkeley
to check out the book stores and the record stores,
and there were two (!) good comic book stores
there within walking distance of each other. I'd
stop in to look for old comic strip collections
and soon my interest in all the great old comics
began to surface (it was never really buried too
deep). But I never considered even trying to start
doing comics myself until I saw, first, RAW
and then Dead Stories, a one-shot by Mark
Beyer. Those were the two catalysts that got me
started doing my own comics. They were something
totally new. They weren't like those dated old
underground comix that were printed on cheap newsprint
and full of stories about hippies doing drugs.
They were beautifully printed on nice paper and
featured stories and art with that late-seventies
punk feel -- kind of all depressing and nihilistic.
I could relate! But RAW also exhibited
a knowledge and appreciation for the ART of comics.
It was like they were trying to save the medium
from just sliding into total crap and it was the
only publication like that out there then. I saw
myself as a kindred spirit so a couple years later
I sent them stuff and got in. That's how it got
Logan: Were those comics your very first
experience with writing?
Richard Sala: Actually, no. In fact, during
high school I had decided I was going to be a
writer. I enjoyed drawing, but I had my doubts
about it as a career. I remember I had three years
of high school art classes with the same teacher
who was a complete bore. I was learning nothing
in those classes that I hadn't taught myself at
home. Luckily, for students at my high school,
if your grades had been good, in your senior year
you had electives, like college. So I took one
class where the purpose was to read as many great
books as possible and analyze them ("Developmental
Reading" it was called). You read at your own
pace and I read like crazy -- I had always loved
to read, but suddenly I was reading stuff that
challenged me and blew my mind, from Catch-22
to Dubliners -- Kafka, Vonnegut, John Barth,
Samuel Beckett, Flannery O'Connor, Dostoyevsky,
Rimbaud, etc, etc. The other elective I took was
creative writing where I began to write short
stories and even plays, believe it or not.
So when I began college in Arizona, I was an
English major. My goal was to be a writer and,
in fact, while I was in school I started sending
in stories to magazines. It's kind of embarrassing
now, but there were those sci-fi digests (do those
still even exist anymore?) like Fantastic
and Analog and I sent in maybe half a dozen
stories, written at home on my little typewriter.
They were all rejected, of course, but I got some
encouraging notes from a couple of the editors.
The bottom line was -- I wasn't really writing
science fiction! I was just sending in kind of
early versions of what I still do now -- stuff
that may be mysterioso and uncanny, but certainly
not sci-fi. Don't ask me what I was thinking!
So, this went on for awhile and I was getting
really bored and restless with going to classes.
I'd go over to the art building sometimes to look
around and it seemed like so much more fun. Plus
-- and I can't downplay the importance of this
-- there were so many more cute girls in the art
classes! In the English classes, you couldn't
really meet anybody. You came to class, sat down,
listened to the lecture and left. Whereas in the
art classes people were casually mingling, wandering
around, having coffee -- very social. So -- because
you couldn't take any Art classes unless you were
an Art major (a sensible ploy to keep the riffraff
out). I changed my major and THAT'S how I got
on the road to being an artist and not a writer!
But I always wrote, even when I was in art school.
I didn't keep personal journals, but I kept notebooks
filled with ideas, observations, fragments, etc,
etc. So, ultimately, you can see why doing my
own comics made sense to me. I loved to write
and I loved to draw. The struggle was finding
the best way to integrate them.
Logan: Have you ever toyed with the notion
of going back and trying to write in the traditional
Richard Sala: Not really. Right now I'm
happy doing what I'm doing.
Logan: A lot of your earlier work is shorter,
and does have a sort of Edward Gorey feel to the
rhythm. You've lately moved towards longer works
-- how did that transition?
Richard Sala: My favorite writer is Kafka
and I was kind of going for that oddly detached
quality he has, even when writing about the most
awful things. I was also reading lots of Borges
and Grimm's Fairy Tales -- so when I sat
down to write, what would come out was usually
in a short story format. And when my comics began
being published in anthologies, then suddenly
more and more anthologies would ask me to contribute.
That was fine, because I didn't really have any
ideas for an ongoing comic book series of my own.
And doing nothing but short pieces for anthologies
allowed me time to start getting work as an illustrator.
So, there I was, with a master's degree and no
money and a painting studio in an East Oakland
warehouse, a day job at a university library,
a part time career as an illustrator, and a few
hours left in the week to work on comics. Eventually,
I gave up the painting studio and when I began
making more money doing illustrations part-time
than working at my day job, I quit the library,
too. Then I became pretty much an illustrator
first and a comic artist second.
At one point I did a serialized story for Dark
Horse Comics. I'd gotten a tiny flicker of attention
for having an animated serial on MTV's Liquid
Television called Invisible Hands and the
idea was to do a comic with a similar tongue-in-cheek-pulp-mystery-serial
for an anthology Dark Horse was starting called
Deadline USA. So I did Thirteen O'Clock
which was eventually collected into a one-shot
Dark Horse comic. I was also getting more into
rediscovering and re-reading all the stuff I loved
as a kid, especially all the pulp-reprint paperbacks
like The Shadow and The Spider.
All my old comics and monster magazines were still
in boxes at my mom's house in Arizona, so I asked
her to send them and that led to a real reawakening
of interest in all of that.
But aside from Thirteen O'Clock I was
only doing short pieces. All along I'd been doing
them for myself -- for my own enjoyment. I was
in a lot of really good anthologies like J.D.
King's Twist and Monte Beauchamp's BLAB!,
but I was in a lot of really awful ones, too,
and that was always disheartening. One of things
I was learning as a beginning illustrator was
not to turn down any assignment. If you did, they
might never call you again. So it got to be kind
of the same with comics for anthologies -- I usually
said yes, not so much because I was afraid they'd
never call again, but because I was so grateful
to have the opportunity to do comics for publication,
how could I say no? And I always had ideas for
But then I started to get burned out on the comics
scene. There was a new anthology from Canada called
Drawn and Quarterly and they asked me if
I'd contribute. They were going to be printing
in color -- and at that time I hadn't done any
strips in color -- so I happily came on board.
But when the issue came out, the color had printed
horribly and the strips looked awful. Chris, the
editor, assured me that they'd improve the color
printing, but in the meantime, he said, maybe
I should use brighter colors so they wouldn't
fade out so much. I did -- but, issue after issue
(I kept hoping, you see) the color looked worse
and worse. It was heartbreaking. I stopped caring toward the end about the color work I was turning in to Drawn and Quarterly. (I did do one black and white strip for them that is one of my favorites, but no one else seemed to like, called "Time Bomb" -- which was indicative of where my head was at that time -- i.e. pretty crazy). I remember all that as being my first
experience with knowingly turning in work that
I felt was sub-standard. It was depressing --
and I was doing so well with illustration work,
always busy, that I started turning down the comic
anthologies. The only one I continued to work
with for awhile was BLAB!, because Monte
always made sure the work looked good. The irony
is -- little did I know that Drawn and Quarterly
would eventually lead the field in publishing
really great looking books. I had the bad luck
of being there before they got the bugs worked
Anyway -- although I pretty much stopped doing
comics, I was still writing and planning and trying
other things. I did a small-press book called
The Ghastly Ones, for example, that I hoped
would be more suited to the bookstore market than
comic book stores. It wasn't a comic, but sort
of an old-fashioned illustrated humor book based
on those old William Steig books (like The
Lonely Ones -- get it?).
Finally, it occured to me that illustration might
just be a creative dead-end. I had always prided
myself on working well with art directors ("hey
- it's a collaborative effort!"), but as the years
went on some of the little criticisms and editorial
remarks got harder to take. There is much swallowing
of one's pride. If you are a 35-year-old illustrator
with fifteen years of work under your belt and
you find yourself being given vague, nitpicky
instructions on how to improve your drawing by
a 23-year-old designer/art director who has absolutely
no art background -- well, if you are the sensitive
type it can start to get to you.
Then I happened to get the perfect call at the
perfect time. Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics was
starting a new anthology called Zero Zero
and was doing the usual cattle-call for contributors.
I told Kim that I was interested, but I didn't
want to do short pieces, I wanted to do a serial.
My plan was to do a long continuing story that
I could eventually publish as a graphic novel.
Kim said yes, and I'll be forever grateful to
him for that.
So that was my first graphic novel, The Chuckling
Whatsit. Because doing that had given me so
much pleasure, I asked Kim if Fantagraphics would
consider giving me an on-going series -- a place
where I could serialize another graphic novel.
Again, to my relief, he said okay -- but advised
me to not ONLY have the serial, but include other
material -- stories that would be complete in
one issue, because serials often alienate readers.
Since I didn't want to do stand-alone short stories,
I came up with a character named Peculia who,
in every issue, would have a self-contained adventure.
So -- in that way -- I eventually, out of that
series which was called Evil Eye, I got
two books. I got to publish my serialized story
as a graphic novel called Mad Night, and
I was able to release a collection of the back-up
stories, called Peculia.
After the serial had concluded in Evil Eye
#12, we decided to reformat the title into
a series of graphic novellas. In today's
marketplace it makes more sense to produce work
that can be sold in bookstores and on Amazon.com
rather than just in whichever comic shop decides
to carry one or two copies of it. (I'm tremendously
grateful to the comic stores who HAVE supported
my work over the years like Comic Relief and Meltdown,
by the way - more than I can say). So - the first
of those (EE #13) was a Peculia adventure
called Peculia and the Groon Grove Vamires.
The second will be published later in 2006 and
is called The Grave Robber's Daughter.
Logan: Are you able to work on longer
pieces at the same time? Peculia is a very
fun read but you get a lot more depth to the story
with something like The Chuckling Whatsit
and Mad Night.
Sala: I always like to have several projects
going on at the same time and I'm always planning
future ones. It's never been difficult for me
to do that, I guess because I enjoy the work so
much. At the moment I'm deep into working on three
different graphic novels in various stages of
completion. By "deep into" I mean that all three
are very far along -- two have (tentative) publication
dates, while the publication of the third will
happen eventually (knock on wood) but its release
is a little more vague for reasons that have nothing
to do with me. At the same time, I enjoy doing
occasional side projects -- like my pin-up girl
(for the Buenaventura Press set of pin-ups by
cartoonists) called Private Stash, or my
"beast" drawing for the upcoming Fantagraphics
Beasts book, edited by Jacob Covey.
The hardest part of balancing the work comes
when a deadline for one is approaching. Then I
have to give that one project my undivided attention
for, say, a month or two until it's turned in.
Logan: Is there any one project you really
would like to tackle at this point?
Richard Sala: This may not be exactly
what you mean, but someday I'd really like to
put out a graphic novel in full-color. I've done
lots of color comics, but never a full-length
graphic novel in color. That would be really cool.
There is a project I'm involved in where that
may happen, but who knows? Meanwhile, Delphine
is being done in duo-tone -- that is, two colors:
black line and a sepia wash. Anyway, it's just
a matter of finding the right time and the right
project and maybe someday I'll have some full-color
books out there.
In the meantime, I'm just happy to keep working.
I always have ideas for new projects -- more than
I can ever actually draw, plus I like to keep
myself available to do projects for whatever publisher
or editor calls me up with something interesting.
The best is to have a few projects going on, but
still be able to take side-projects when they
come up. I'm really fortunate that that's where
I'm at right now.